Could use some guidance on Installing a SSD as Root drive

edited January 24 in Everything Else

@CNK I ordered that SSD you mentioned in the other thread and it arrives today, but I realize I have no clue exactly how to go about migrating to it.  I can install Windows 10 on it (I think) and my Hitfilm Pro and possibly Blender but I want to hold down the used portion and install most other programs to an 3 TB HDD.  Is there a way to set it up so that things like OneDrive, MyDrive & Dropbox (Oh, and My Documents and Downloads) store the sync files on the HDD and not C: ?

Anyone with suggestions and Must Dos?  I thank you all.



  • Oh cool. That arrived fast, 2-4 week min shipping here northern Sweden. Unfortunately we don't have an Amazon here with prime delivery services.

    So... Migrating is generally not a good idea. You may find slowdowns if you dont format the current drive C: because of the way the registry is setup on it. This could be anything from not noticeable to slower reads in the file explorer, and possibly others, but none that Ive experienced.

    I recommend installing Win10 from an ISO (USB stick) rather than migrating/cloning, while your current drive is disconnected during the installation process.

    Link your Windows license to a Microsoft account, so that when you reinstall it later, just logging in will activate it since the key is tied to the account.

    I.also a good idea to reinstall programs on the SSD instead of moving them, moving them may break certain parts of the linking/paths to the OS.

    To avoid problems after all is said and done, delete Windows from your hard drive after you installed it on your SSD. 

    This will be the easiest and least painful way to go about it. I used to like migrating with Samsung's tool and also Aoemi as well, but it's not something I do anymore. I don't think it's worth the time savings if you end up having problems afterwards... 

  • @CNK Thanks for that info.  That is what I planned on doing and now realize I misused the term migrating :) I meant it as switching over to the SSD and didn't know it was an actual process. So I want to put all my programs on the SSD?  I was afraid with Windows it might not be big enough to handle but just a couple.

  • @tddavis How big of a drive did you get? I use a 256gb drive as my main drive and have plenty of room for Windows, HitFilm, Blender, and a ton of other random programs, and I still had room to store all the media from my last project on it. Not to mention all the other files (including multi gb iso files) I keep on there. Oh, and I pre-rendered all the footage. 

    Basically, 256 GB is a lot bigger than it sounds. Even a 128GB should be plenty to store Windows, the majority of modern programs, and any files less than 5 mb (documents, music, photos). 

    As for getting your system up and running on the SSD, it’s certainly a bit of a process, but a fresh install of Windows is usually the best. It will take a few hours to reinstall everything and reconfigure things how you like, but it will be more stable, and it gives you a chance to declutter.

    edited January 24

     "So I want to put all my programs on the SSD?  I was afraid with Windows it might not be big enough to handle but just a couple."

    If you want to, the only benefit to that would be initial start up load times, nothing else. 

    As @triforcefx mentioned, since you got a 240 GB, you'll have plenty of room. If you choose to place media on it and work from it within HitFilm, then you'll also see significant improvement when creating proxies (now called "pre-render").

    Ideal setup for a non bottlenecked drive workflow:

    1. Dedicated OS and program drive

    2. Dedicated scratch drive

    3. Dedicated media drive

    4. Dedicated export drive

    All but the last should be SSD's to get the most out of them, but all in all, now that you'll be using an SSD - experiment! As soon as you are done with the initial Windows install process, and deleted the old Windows from your HDD (while letting your other files stay just like they were before, sans program installs), then you are free to experiment. Honestly, just Windows and program boot times, and file explorer (instant opening of any folder in the file explorer, all the time... It's going to blow you away!

  • edited January 24

    @triforcefx Thanks for the info.  I got the 250GB PNY that CNK posted in another thread for CleverTagline.  I was under the misconception that they were still hundreds of $.  I've long wanted to get my system over to an SSD but hadn't done it yet. I was unsure of just how big the installed files for Windows had gotten.

    @CNK That's a perfect game plan.  To start, I have a couple 1 TB internal HDD, a 3 TB and a 2TB that with swapping and mixing and matching that I'll try out before getting more SSDs but that is definitely an option going forward.  The media and export drive is self-explanatory but what is the purpose of a Scratch drive?

  • @tddavis Yeah, Windows is a big boy, but it’s actually not that bad... A clean install takes about 20 GB, but it needs at least 32 GB to function properly, and about 64 GB or so to be comfortable (though it will rarely take up that much space by itself). After that, you have almost 200GB to work with, and most programs aren’t more than a GB or two.

    edited January 24

    Sounds good. And we'll be here to help if you need anything.

    A scratch drive is one of the 4 core drives in an ideal setup. 

    Scratch: Isolated proxy/pre render, conforming, project saves (auto as well), basically a cache drive which HitFilm is accessing all the time in the background. These are only temporary files, and it's often overlooked. 

  • @triforcefx @CNK Thank you both for the info and tips.  I'd seen the term "scratch" drive but never understood it.  But then, I don't think I have ever pre-rendered or proxied.  It's probably why my renders in Blender are so freaking long!  Hitfilm has been far gentler on my system than Blender. And I am virtually certain I will put out a distress call over the weekend. :)

    edited February 3

     We're happy to help a fellow HitFilmer. We're a tight community here. 

    The whole idea behind having multiple drives is to ensure no tasks slows down other tasks. For instance, the OS drive needs to still have the page file on it, it's constantly accessed and having it on the scratch drive would be detremental to performance. You want a media and export drive because you want to seperate input from output completely. It is possible to double or get more performance than that, by using properly setup drives. Now the performance I'm talking about are wait times, that's what drives are for, access and read and writes files. So... significantly reduced renders and major workflow improvements are the main benefits from this. Less waiting, more work. Furthermore, the difference between 8 GB RAM and 16 GB RAM, or 16 and 32, can theoretically cut export times in half on each jump, because RAM is faster than any SATA or nVME drive by a huge margin, and if projects are too big, it starts using the drives, which is also detremental to performance. In addition to that, I'm sure you've come across RAM previews not being able to fully support enough playback time in your timeline. More RAM is better for that as well. It's all a fine balancing act.

  • @CNK @triforcefx So last night as I got ready to install my SSD I realized I needed a mount bracket for it   So, back to Amazon and I ordered a set of two and some cables, but then I decided while I was ordering I'd get a 2nd SSD anyway and ordered a 480 GB PNY.  They will be here tomorrow. Now my quandary is whether to use the 480 as an Export drive or the 250 GB and the other for OS? My plan is to use the HDD 3TB for a media drive in addition to the plethora of Externals I already have filling up and a 1 TB HDD for the Scratch (which as I have never utilized Pre-Rendering,) I don't think it will slow me that much in the long run. Or would it be more beneficial to use the 250 for the Scratch or Export and the 480 for the OS? Thoughts?

  • edited January 25 but Im going to piggy back on your topic here and ask the pros. My apologies up front.

    How can I add an additional SSD?

    My Z170 AR ASUS has these storage sockets:

    1 x SATA Express port
    6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (2 ports from SATA Express ports)
    1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key **Both SATA & PCIE mode ** (currently has a 960 EVO installed)

    The board does say I can use two M.2 or NVMe PCIE devices using RAID 0

    What socket would  I install a 2nd and 3rd SSD on or can I even have more than 1?

    Confused sorry old man syndrome

  • edited January 25

    @GrayMotion Oh, glad you asked that question!  I had not even considered that my MOBO might not be able to handle 4 SATA devices.  No wait, with DVD/BluRay drives it would be 6!  Yikes!!!  Got to do some digging into the MOBO manual.  I have the CSOMS as well and getting worse daily when it comes to computers.  I used to be the Guru everyone local called to fix their system or upgrade it, and then I had a 4 year span where I was idled and I got hopelessly lost as last year's Easter egg.  Never recovered :)

  • "everyone local called to fix their system or upgrade it," - I too was the goto guy... 20 years ago.  Now a days I'm smart some days I don't give a hoot others. Whats that...I turned into my Dad? Get off my grass!!!!

  • edited January 25

    "How can I add an additional SSD?

    My Z170 AR ASUS has these storage sockets:"

    The ASUS website shows that MB as having only 1 M.2 slot. The second would be via a Hyper DIMM kit in a memory slot. Not a good scenario. I think it best to keep memory sockets to memory only.

    SATA, SATA Express seems like you way to go.

    Even with MB that have multiple M.2 sockets those are typically shared with some SATA ports. So use one, lose the other. This is the case on my Gigabyte Z390 Master MB which has 3 M.2 PCIe capable slots. Of course each could be M.2 SATA instead of PCIe.

    edited January 25

    "480 as an Export drive or the 250 GB and the other for OS?"

    Which you use to export to is not really an issue, a regular hard drive is sufficient because rendering to a drive when exporting is a slow process. I think you should experiment since how you work matters too.

    @tddavis @graymotion Installing drives comes down to these things:

    How many drives fit in the drive bay?

    How many drive bay adapter brackets do you have?

    How many SSD mounting slots do you have on the back of the case? Visible mounting holes if you remove the back case panel on supported cases.

    How many SATA power and SATA data connectors do you have? If you lost or misplaced your SATA power (not data) connectors to be able to make this work, then remember that you cannot generally use a different brands cables, or even cables from the same model PSU from a different box. They're specifically made to work with the same unit, doing that anyways can cause fires, melted cables, damage components. Manufacturers will state if cables are identical or not.

    How many SATA 3 inputs does your motherboard have? SATA 2 is almost always included as well, which limits drive throughput to slightly below 300 MB/s, where as SATA 3 to ~550 MB/s. This can be important to consider, but regardless which you choose, instant reads and writes come from the SSD's itself, not the data connector that you use.

    How many M.2 inputs does your motherboard have for NVMe drives? 

    How many PCI-e lanes does your CPU provide, will it be able to sufficiently support multiple NVMe drives? Top slots usually provide 4x lanes, bottom 4x or 2x as well, and if there are any additional slots, it's important to look at those as well. However, even a 1x PCI-e lane provided to a NVMe drive can reach a throughput of about 1 GB/s. It's very near a linear increase the more lanes you have, and installing more NVMe drives will divide the lanes between them, up to a maximum of 4 on each slot if applicable. 16 lanes is already reserved for dedicated graphics. 

    My CPU: Ryzen 5 1400: Available PCI-e lanes: 20, 16 reserved for dedicated graphics, 4 reserved for storage (NVMe and SATA).



  • edited January 25

    "How many PCI-e lanes does your CPU provide,"

    On Intel systems, with consumer CPUs, most M.2 NVM.e slots are attached to the PCH (Southbridge) chipset PCI lanes. PCI lanes are provided by both the CPU and the PCH. Consumer Intel CPUs have 16 lanes and those typically all go to the GPU. Some MB have x4 PCI slots that are connected to the CPU and as such then the GPU lanes would be reduced. Most times, on Intel consumer, all I/O PCI are connected to the PCH. Even the PCH has a limit and some PCI can be shared across SATA and M.2 as previously mentioned.

    For example. My i9 9900k CPU has 16 PCI lanes and the Z390 PCH (chipset) has 24 PCI lanes.  40 total. On this MB the CPU PCIe lanes only go to the GPU slot(s). The MB has 6 SATA ports and 3 M.2 (all capable of x4 NVMe). Two of the M.2 share PCI lanes with some SATA ports (NVMe or SATA). So use an x4 NVMe M.2 and you lose two specific SATA ports. Put two x4 NVMe M.2 cards in those slots and the MB then only supplies 2 SATA. The third M.2 NVM.e shares PCIe with the MB x4 PCI slot. Use one and then you lose the other.

    Bottom line is you have to look at the manual very closely for any specific MB.

  •  @NormanPCN I learned something new, thanks for sharing! In general, most things I know comes from people on this forum since the level of knowledge is on average really high. I'm grateful.

  • edited January 26

    Gotta say Terry...pretty painless. Didn't even have to fiddle with jumper settings (dating myself). 

    I had been thinking about adding  a few ssd's month ago but it fell into the fog between TurkeyDay and Christmas. Your thread brought it out to the front of my mind again.

    1 x EVO 960 M2 1TB
    2 x EVO 860 500Gb ea
    1 x Samsung HDD  3TB 
    1 x WD NAS 4TB

    Should be set until I cant see anymore or...   die. 👍

  •  Here is my motherboard layout.  I'm a bit concerned now that I can't do what I wanted to do as it only shows 2 SATA connections?

    Can any of the tech savvy decipher this and tell me? 

    edited January 26

    The L shaped inputs on the bottom right are SATA 3's - you got 6. Not to be confused with your manual stating 2 SATA data cables are included. The numbered checkerboard to the left of them tells you which is which, however not important. You can connect the SATA data cables to any of those. :)

    Normally SATA data cables come with your drive purchases.

    Edit: @GrayMotion I'm very jealous of your setup. I gave away my 1 TB to my brother who needed it and right now all I have is a 240 GB SSD. I'm planning on upgrading soon, but I haven't quite gotten into actually working on things yet. @DafterThings sparked my interest for stop motion, so I actually just placed an order on a charger for my trusty old T3i so I can get that up and running again. 

  • edited January 27

    @CNK ; I'm an idiot!  I didn't even read the word cables when I looked at that!  I assumed it was slots...D'oh!  The other drive and carriers just arrived so now I get to crack open this case and begin.  Sadly, neither came with cables or power connectors but I have several around that I purchased a while back and got 2 more with power cables this time as well.  I think I am going to use the 480GB for OS and the 250 for Export.  Thanks for all your help.  We shall see how this goes...

    Edit: @CNK ;Link your Windows license to a Microsoft account, so that when you reinstall it later, just logging in will activate it since the key is tied to the account.

    Ran into a snag with this step.  I missed it initially and I'm having an issue with the key.  I have Win 10 Home DVD I installed from but the key I recovered befoe I switched drives won't work and the 8.1 key that was upgraded on the old drive won't either.  I used it once before when I reinstalled 10 on the same drive so I have to research linking to my micrsoft acct. It's always something.  Oddly, when I hooked the old drive back up the computer ignored the new SSD and booted from the old one even though I put the SSD in Sata 0 slot and the old ones in 2 & 3.

    That's definitely a step you don't want to overlook.  I was already linked and got it transferred  quickly.

  • When  you say power cables, youre talking about those included with your power supply, right? 

    If not, tell us the PSU make and model.

    480 OS and 240 Export sounds good. Youll be able to swap things around very easily. When the drives have been installed its just a matter of what files goes where. 

  • @CNK Sort of...  It's a little splitter that plugs into the PSU  cable and then doubles that to go to 2 drives. Today, I am going to swap out the original Windows HDD with the 3TB HDD as my Media drive then plug the original into my docking port and leech all the personal data off it then format it and use it as a backup drive.  It's been nice having the ability to boot up to either drive by just unplugging the original Windows drive.  Making me think seriously about dual booting to be honest. For what reason I have no clue :)

    edited January 27

    Is it a Molex (4 pins) to SATA that was included in the box? So when you say splitter you mean a Y connector not an X connector (not 2 input 2 output). So your config looks like this right now, all while using included in the PSU box parts, or are there any third party?

    PSU -> Molex (Y) -> 2 SATA power?

    Molex -> SATA will leave out the 3.3v, and only keep the 5v and 12v rails. This may not be sufficient for your SSD's, however as it was designed for hard drives, DVD, and some older SSD's dont specifically ask for the 3.3v rail.



  • @CNK Yes, that is the arrangement I have now, but I haven;t plugged in the 2nd SSD yet.  The Molex Y is a third party,  I guess, as I ordered it separately. All 4 wires are hooked into the the plugs; is there any way to tell if the 3.3V is there?  I could use a volt meter on the pins if you know which color is the 3.3...guess I could look for the 12 and the 5 then by elimination the 3.3 is the third, huh? 

  • I always just used tape or screwdriver and push it out. But Molex cant do 3.3v at all. If you want to connect an SSD via Molex, check if the drive wants 3.3v or not. Ill give a better response soon, just getting ready to leave work. 

  • @CNK Just thought I could show you the page from Amazon:

    No rush on response either.  Enjoy your day at work. :)

    edited January 27

    Those cables look meh, but they got good reviews. I personally never use third party cables so the risk is entirely in your hands. Data corruption/drive failures are not that uncommon with third party. Usually PSU manufacturers worth their salt provide a ton of clean SATA power cables, 2 strips of 4 included with mine, which makes 8 in total, no molex required. It is called Bequiet Straight Power 11 450W.

    Info about your drives:

    PNY CS900 240/480 GB: 5V

    Which means that with molex it'll be just fine. Molex supplies 5v and 12v, there's no 3.3v, but since the drives ask for 5v, you're within molex spec. The drive(s) will be in the hands of whoever made that molex adapter. If something goes bad, they usually wipe the drives and permanently damage and/or destroy them. And the classic PC caught on fire scenario. Thats not me trying to scare you. You just have to be made aware of the risks.

  • edited January 27

    @CNK ; No worries.  Thanks for the warning.  I had no clue there was so much little stuff to know.  I've been fighting trying to get my GPU installed on the new drive and turns out my Windows DVD wasn't the latest build and it doesn't want to update for some reason.  Keeps throwing an error.  So I'm burning a new DVD with the latest...I hope!  Once I get that squared away, I plan to dig in there and see if I can swap some cables around.  Thought about maybe if I have to use the splitter I can put it on the DVDs or the HDD instead.  Thanks much for all the help so far.

    Edit: Finally got the GPU drivers installed.  That build thing was the trip.  Now, I can reload Hitfilm Pro!!

    edited January 28

    Im happy i could help. It sounds like youre up and running now which is great.

    I noticed that i wrote this in the other thread, not this one so ill mention it here as well as perhaps the last bit of relevant info regarding drives and throughput/transfer speeds for large sequential reads and writes.

    There are 5 types of SSD cell layouts:






    And more are comming as time goes on and improvements are made.

    To not make this too long, your SSD's (CS900) use TLC 3D NAND, but theres a cache (pun intended) - the cache maxes out at 3 GB. What does this mean? 

    Any single file transfers that exceeds 3 GB, will slow down the sequential writes from the advertised 500 MB/s (which is accurate), to 250-300 MB/s. This is very often overlooked in cases where the user wants to transfer a lot large files, in this case >3 GB on a regular basis. It should also be noted that writes are only as fast as the slowest variable in the chain, even if that means another SSD, where one has a cache and the other doesnt.

    This isnt an obstacle for scratch (cache) drives, export, saves, etc, because theyre all small files and or slow writes, to the point it would never have to exceed the 200 MB/s dropoff after the cache runs out. In other words, these are called burst writes and are their intended use.

    Enjoy your new drives. The jump from HDD to SSD is massive, youll never be able to go back! :)

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